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Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: Reviews


by Michael R. Harvey


Dave, from Thursby Software, is the gold standard when it comes to cross platform file and printer sharing. It is the best seller utility of it's kind, and shows every sign of remaining so. Features added to the latest version include support for Unicode file names, the ability to access files larger than 2 GB, and the availability of the program documentation via the Help Center, among others.

Installation of Dave is a breeze. In OS 8 and 9, run the installer, then restart. In OS X, not even a restart is needed. Dave is ready to go immediately.

Connecting to Windows shares using Dave in OS X, and OS 8 and 9.

Configuration of Dave is simplicity itself. After installation, simply follow the instructions in the Setup Assistant. The assistant will query you for the information it needs to establish a connection to the Windows servers on your network, like WINS server address and Workgroup name. You will also have the option during setup to share out a folder from your Mac to the Windows machines on your network. This can be done now, or skipped over. This setting, as well as all the others, can be changed at any time by going back through the Setup Assistant again. Running the Assistant starts you over at the beginning, but all your previous information will be there. You can easily make changes only to the areas you need, skipping past the parts that do not require updating.

Accessing Windows servers via Dave is now just like accessing any other network volume. The specifics of how depend on which operating system you are running.

In OS X, accessing Windows servers is done via the Connect to Server window. The behavior is identical to mounting a sever via AppleTalk. From the Go menu, select Connect to Server. Dave Network appears along with AppleTalk and Local Network. Click on it, and you will get a listing of domains and workgroups. Choose the one you want to access, and a listing of available shares for that domain will pop up. From there, just double click on the share you wish to access, and logon as usual.

In Mac OS 8 and 9, you access those heretofore unreachable Windows shares via the Chooser. Once open, a Chooser extension named Dave Client is listed along with the usual selections, like AppleShare. Clicking on it will let you browse the entire network, mount a share manually, or select from the available list of Windows boxes on your network. Double click on the share you wish to access, enter your logon and password, as you would normally, and you are in.

Thursby provides some nice documentation to get you up and running. A printed Quick Start Guide will have you connected to your Windows network in minutes. For both OS X, and 8 and 9, extensive material is accessible via the Help Center, found in the Help menu. The Help Center data is well laid out, and finding answers is fairly easy. Some of the material to be had includes detailed set up instructions, and answers to common questions. A troubleshooting guide is key among the available material, providing extensive information on possible errors that you may encounter, and likely solutions.

There have been some problems with the version 3.1 release of Dave. Thursby has been working to resolve these issues. In early May, they released version 3.1.1 to address some of these issues, as well as add features. Check the Read Me file for all the gory details. Thursby also maintains an up to date FAQ on it's website, that you can link to from the Help Center, that answers many of the questions you may have regarding installation, networking, or any other problems.

Another great resource for finding solutions to problems with Dave is the website, MacWindows. It deals with all issues relating to Mac and Windows integration, and is a great resource for troubleshooting not only Dave, but all aspects of cross platform networking.

Thursby Software sells a range of products for connecting Macs and Windows PC's together in environments ranging from the home office to the corporate LAN. They even offer a product, MacNFS, available to make connecting to Unix servers a simple process. If you plan on cross platform networking in OS X, you'll need Dave. Dave has an MSRP of $149 for a single license. Thursby also offers an Annual Update program. This program will give you all updates that are released within the twelve months of the contract. Pricing for the Annual Update program starts at $49.95 for a single license, up to $900 for fifty licenses.

Michael R. Harvey


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